183. The Thinking Atheist Backs Down From Science Debate

Interview examines the scientific evidence underlying an atheist worldview and why atheists are reluctant to defend it.

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with The Thinking Atheist, Seth Andrews. During the interview Andrews explains why atheists don’t support scientists who believe ESP has been scientifically proven:

Alex Tsakiris:   There is this silly sideshow conversation that always dominates center stage– “science versus religion, Christianity versus Atheists.” But the science question behind this really boils down to one question — is your mind purely a function of your brain?  Because if it isn’t then we get into all these other topics that start sounding very spiritual.

Seth Andrews:  To say that the reputable science community is advocating that there must be a conduit of spirit out there that is irresponsible, I don’t think that’s accurate. I don’t think it’s reflected by mainstream, especially secular scientists, who are the majority. I think if you spend that much time playing “What if,” you’ll drive yourself nuts.

Alex Tsakiris:   That is exactly why I wanted to do this interview in two parts, because I have to tell you, in the dialogues I’ve had, we always get to this point, which is we have to dig through all the opinions that we might have, beliefs we might have, get down to the science. Getting down to the scientific evidence and understanding it the best we can.

So that’s my point. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Richard Wiseman – great — go see what he has to say about ESP. I’m telling you about the near-death experience science and I’m telling you that overwhelmingly hypoxia has been dismissed as a possible explanation. So, go check out the science and then come back so we can have a real debate.

Seth Andrews:   So you’re a believer, then, in extra-sensory perception. You believe in ESP personally?

Alex Tsakiris:   Personally?

Seth Andrews:   I’m not sure why a yes/no question is so complicated for you. I’m just curious.

Alex Tsakiris:   Because I don’t what you mean by “personally.”  I don’t have any personal experience with ESP. I think the evidence is overwhelmingly suggestive that it does happen, that there is some form of extended human consciousness that does occur in this way. That’s what the evidence shows. I don’t know what that means.

Seth Andrews:   I’m still stuck on ESP. I’m still stuck on it.

Alex Tsakiris:   Great, go check out the science.

Seth Andrews:   I’m still stuck on it. I honestly think—I mean, I lump ESP in with astral projection, with visions, with crystals, with—I myself think that this is a profound waste of time and energy. But to me, superstition and religion, they go hand-in-hand. Superstition and science do not. I don’t place them side-by-side. They are not bedfellows. They are not partners.

Alex Tsakiris:   Science is a method. It is not a position. It’s a set of tools, Seth. It’s just a way of inquiry.

Seth Andrews: I think you and I are simply approaching the term “science” from different perspectives.

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Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and on today’s episode I have a dialogue with The Thinking Atheist, Seth Andrews, whose popular YouTube channel has nearly 100,000 subscribers and millions of views.

Now, as you know from listening to Skeptiko, it’s hard to book these kinds of interviews. Despite their claims to the contrary, Atheists and skeptics don’t really like to get into debates about science and about the evidence behind their beliefs. So I was delighted when Seth agreed to come on and come onto my new concept. I had this idea for a two-part format where we’d use the first interview to kind of map out our ideas, map out our thoughts, and then use the second part of the interview to really get into the debate.

So here then is my first interview with Seth Andrews, The Thinking Atheist.

Today we welcome Seth Andrews to Skeptiko. Seth is the creator of The Thinking Atheist, a very popular website and YouTube channel. Seth is also a former Christian and a former Christian broadcaster who challenges his listeners to “Assume nothing, question everything, and start thinking.”

Welcome, Seth, and thanks for joining me on Skeptiko.

Seth Andrews:   It’s a real pleasure. Thanks for the invite and thanks for allowing me to be a part of the show.

Alex Tsakiris:   Awesome. I am really grateful that you’ve joined me. I love your tagline and your call for deeper thinking about some of these issues. I could just have easily written that myself. I just hope that our dialogue today lives up to that, at least a little bit, and gives some folks something to think about.

Seth Andrews:   Well, some people will say, “Seth, are you The Thinking Atheist?” And I always stop for just a second and say, “Well, no. The Thinking Atheist is the outline of a guy with a light bulb in his head. I’m just a guy who hosts it.”

I wanted a website and a moniker that just encouraged people to think it out. It was in my life when I stopped accepting what I was told by my family, culture, and society and I started thinking for myself finally. I was late to that party but I finally decided to show up. It was when I started thinking that all of a sudden I began to find the answers to many of the questions I was looking for. So that’s really what I want.

I don’t mean for it to be egotistical. Some people say, “Is it you?” I always say, “No.” They say, “Is it redundant? The Thinking Atheist?” And I go, “Absolutely not. Just because somebody’s an Atheist does not mean it’s a guarantee that they’re thinking.” We should all have our minds engaged anywhere we go and try to figure it out as best we can.

Alex Tsakiris:   Well, I think you’re true to that really on your site and your YouTube channel. It’s not somebody out there pushing themselves with their name out front and their image all over the place. I like that. I think it does push someone to look past that. I’ve given folks a little bit of an introduction to what you do and what you’re about but I also want to let people hear a little bit from one of your presentations, actually the one that led me to you.

It’s a YouTube video you put together titled, “The Afterlife.” It’s really quite well-done and I think it’s quite provocative. If I can, let me play a short clip, about a minute clip from that, and then we’ll roll right into you can tell us about that clip, about the YouTube channel that you’ve put together, and maybe more of an introduction to what you’re doing there. Does that sound okay?

Seth Andrews:   Sounds good.

“If you spent a lovely day at the beach and then returned the following weekend knowing that it had one fewer grain of sand, would it seem like a different beach? So, too, would the universe continue in its ways if humanity weren’t here to witness it?”

“The universe is absolutely massive and we are virtually insignificant in it.”

“I have, on occasion, had people tell me that my life must be so depressing because I’m an Atheist. It’s doom and gloom and once you die, it’s all over. And it’s just absurd to me how many people live for dying in this weird way.”

“I think fragile, fearful humans were terrified of death and so they wrote their own ending to the story. This happy fantasy, a place where they’ll be reunited with people they’ve lost; they’ll experience constant joy. And of course, they’ll never, ever die.”

Alex Tsakiris:   Okay, so that’s our guest, Seth Andrews. So tell us a little bit about this particular video.

Seth Andrews:   Well, my YouTube channel started around the same time that I launched thethinkingatheist.com website. It was at the end of a kind of a rough journey which goes the journey of many who came out of religion. What normally happens is if you are, like me, raised in the cradle of a religious family and culture—I mean, I went the whole route.

I had theologian parents who took trips to the Holy Land and who were Bible scholars and wrote sermons for local pastors. They were the real deal. They weren’t just passing Sunday Christians. They were hard-core. So that was the environment in which I was raised. As I became an adult, my thinking was, ‘They’re so well-educated. They’re geniuses. They’re so smart they must know.’

I was a Christian broadcaster for a long time and then finally I started to—I don’t know what it is about getting older but I just started to become uneasy. So around 2008 I was at critical mass and I was just tired of making excuses for all the stuff that made no sense. By 2009 I was a full-blown Atheist. I was just saying the word out loud and I wanted to help other people out of their particular journeys, to remind them that they are not alone, and maybe help give them some information as I was doing some of my own homework, and to challenge some of the established thinking.

I’m a professional video producer now and I started putting together just some videos and put them on YouTube and on the website and had a few hundred hits here or there. The first ones were nothing really to crow about. They were just my first attempts but them were big steps for me. The first video I ever put up was called, “The Invisible God,” and it was my first public challenge to the deity that I had formerly been raised with and taught to be loyal to and in some ways afraid of. It was a big, big deal.

At the time I was really going, a couple of videos a month, singlehandedly just buried myself in the production room and just kept going and going and going and then before you know it, we’re doing radio podcasts and the Facebook page began to take off. Now here in the year 2012, I’ve found myself struggling to keep up. I find myself thinking, ‘Man, I need a staff. I need somebody to come in and help out.’ It’s a good problem to have but that’s kind of how the whole thing got going.

Alex Tsakiris:   So it is quite an endeavor, The Thinking Atheist. I can only imagine, just looking at all the different things you have going on. Obviously, I’ve watched some of your YouTube videos. I’ve also read some of your blog posts and I’ve listened to some of your podcasts, which are interesting because you actually have people call in. I get a sense from that from where some of your audience is at and I get it.

In terms of a dialogue that I’d like to have with you today, I guess the first thing I’d say is I do get that. I mean, Christianity is silly, coercive, and despite all that still being a huge influence that we can all see in our culture, our society, our politics, all that. And I also get–like we were just talking about listening to your podcast–the personal part of it. How the coercive nature of it and how a lot of us are indoctrinated into it at a very young age makes it hard to shake and really messes us up in some way that’s hard to un-mess us up from.

So I get all of that. But—and you knew there was a but coming there—the part that interests me and the part that I really want to dialogue with you about is what lies behind that? What is the deeper truth beyond all this arm-waving about science versus religion, which to me seems really like more of a sideshow? To me the real question, scientifically more-or-less, is is that little voice inside our head that is our consciousness, is that just my brain firing? Or is there something more going on?

Seth Andrews:   Well, it’s a broad stroke that you paint there but if you were to ask me 15 years ago, “Where does consciousness come from,” of course I’m talking about the soul and talking about that magic, the unexplainable part of our being that is spirit. It is eternal, it is all these types of things.

If you were to ask me now after I’ve dug in a little deeper and come to some different conclusions, in my mind I see us as my mind, my consciousness, is essentially a product of the electrical impulses of the brain. I think they’re physically explainable, even if we don’t have all the explanations yet. I don’t have an inclination to paint God into all the cracks, into all the vacant spaces because every time we’ve done so, we have always been wrong. People have always, when they ran into a wall, our ancestors would always play the God card and then as we have evolved and learned more as a species, it turns out that the answers science provided were more accurate and they were actually more interesting.

Alex Tsakiris:   It sounds like at least we’re approaching this somewhat from the same angle. What I’d like to propose—and I just sketched this out in very broad terms in the email that I sent you—is kind of a two-part approach to that. What I’ve often encountered is you’re out there, you’re doing your thing and have studied a lot of this stuff in great detail. I appreciate that.

You’ve also interviewed a lot of very smart people. I know from my own experience that I’ve grown a lot from that and I’m sure you have, too. So you’re bringing a lot of your information to the table which may overlap with some of mine, but there’s absolutely some stuff that you know that I don’t know. And the reverse is probably true. So what I want to do in a little bit of time today is sketch out the territory of this dialogue we might have.

I’m going to say, “Hey, Seth, here’s what I’d like to bring to it. This and this and this and this, and here’s where I fit these pieces together and here are some of the experts I’ve talked to.” Then I want you to do that likewise. Then maybe we can reconvene in a week or whatever the timeframe is and then see where we really are in terms of pushing each other with some of this information that we have. How does that sound?

Seth Andrews:   That’s cool. If we’re having a debate or even a friendly debate as opposed to an interview. I mean, I’m cool with that. If we’re all about trying to challenge each other to sharpen our ideas so that we are actually better tomorrow than we are today, I’m all over that. I think it’s a fantastic idea and I’m not opposed to it at all.

Alex Tsakiris:   Great. So that’s what I’d like to do. Since most of the interviews we’ve done on Skeptiko have surrounded this idea of consciousness and what we know about consciousness and what we can say is probably not true about consciousness, that’s where I’d like to drive things. I think that’s where it gets real interesting.

We were just talking a minute ago about religion and about your experience and what you’ve seen in other people. I guess the maybe-counter to that is we need to know as best we can whether there is anything to these claims of consciousness being more than just our brain. If they are, a lot of these other things that we’ve taken as true in terms of scientific materialism, Atheistic kind of view, become a lot harder to hold up.

By that I mean if consciousness is outside of our brain, then we have to start asking questions like when does consciousness start? And obviously, when does consciousness end? Does it extend beyond? And you don’t have to go very far with those philosophical questions, obviously, to the point where you reach some deeper spiritual questions like you were just mentioning. You throw around words like “soul” and you even get to God and get to those things very quickly.

So where I’ve come at this topic is not to address the questions of God and soul but to address the questions of consciousness. What do we really know and where is that research going? So that’s what I’d like to outline today. I’d like to find out more about your thoughts and where you’re coming at in saying you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s brain-based.

Seth Andrews:   I was talking to AronRa, who is another YouTube Atheist and he has sampled at the buffet of consciousness and consciousness-enhancing practices, spiritual whatever, the world of woo. He’s talked about how in this highly subjective environment he was one-time convinced that he could do this, he could do that, he broke through different planes of consciousness and whatnot. At the end of the day, he realized that it was all subjective; it was all very much not based in reality.

He’d done a sales job on his own mind. He had come out the other end realizing look, this is all just a—and I myself have a difficulty approaching the ideas of does consciousness come from without? Without a measure of real skepticism because perception and reality are not necessarily the same thing.

We talked about there’s a book by Levin & Cramer about how even eyewitnesses perceive things when they witness a crime and that perception is tainted. It’s tainted by so many subjective things. What I want to know isn’t what you think you saw. I want to know what the evidence says. I don’t want to start with everything that might be possible. When we talk about where consciousness comes from, it might come from a giant pink, plush monkey suction-cupped to the back of one of Jupiter’s moons. You can’t disprove it but it’s not where I want to start.

Where I want to start is with my feet on the ground and to say, “What can we see? What can we prove?” If there are areas beyond that that are unexplainable as of yet to me, that I don’t get, I don’t want to find myself wandering out in the weeds grasping at the first attractive answers that I see. I really would like to know—even if I know that I don’t know, that’s the information I would like moving forward.

So I take a little bit of a harder line when it comes to are there energies and external forces guiding our consciousness? My skeptical nerve tends to start to flare up at that moment. That’s something that’s especially awakened to me in the last 36 months.

Alex Tsakiris:   Right, I hear you on that. It also would probably be a point where we’re in congruence. That’s that the one thing that aggravates me is Apologetics, whether it comes from Christian Apologetics or scientific Apologetics. I view Apologetics as starting with my end answer, Jesus really was resurrected, and then cherry-picking out bits and pieces of science-sounding facts, archeological facts or Biblical scholarship facts, to make my case and try and cobble something together. I’m really, really against that but I’m also against that when it comes to a scientific approach that does the same thing.

Seth Andrews:   That’s the second time that I’ve heard you place science and religion sort of side-by-side in a horse race. I don’t see them as compatible. I really think we’re talking about—I mean, the scientific method if used correctly does not start with an answer. It follows the chain of evidence. It admits when it is wrong and fixes itself. Science is a process that is delighted to be wrong and wants to, in its purest form, wants to fix whatever is wrong so that it can provide better information.

Science is always updating and revising. Religion is pitching the same answers that it had for the last however-many thousands of years. The Apologists are now coming out to make excuses for or give context of but their arguments largely haven’t changed. Science changes every day. I myself cannot put religion and science in that race. They’re two different breeds, two different animals totally, and I have a difficult time trying to correlate one with the other because I believe they are completely incompatible. They operate in completely different ways.

Alex Tsakiris:   Maybe. I don’t want to go there too far because I think we’ll get sidetracked from the main thing that I wanted to try and engage with you on and that’s this idea of consciousness. I mean, that’s a valid point. I’d love to hash that out with you for an hour or two.

Seth Andrews:   Do you spend every show talking about consciousness? Every single episode?

Alex Tsakiris:   Consciousness-related kind of activities, yeah. I think that’s where it’s all at. I mean, I talked to a bunch of Christians—just had a Christian fellow on the last show, a guy I really enjoyed talking to, who’s tried to create this dialogue/lecture series between Christians and scientists and has done a good job. He’s over in the UK. But I’ve talked to some of the world’s leading consciousness researchers, many of them have a materialistic view of things but some of them who don’t.

Seth Andrews:   If you speak to a Christian person who is a scientist they are, according to the National Institute of Sciences, in the extreme minority and their approach to your conversation will already be tainted by their belief in a deity. They’re not speaking as much scientifically; they’re speaking theologically. And if you speak to a secular scientist about consciousness, you’re probably going to be getting—unless I’m wrong—more of a nuts-and-bolts answer that has to do with the body chemistry and psychology and all of these other things.

Alex Tsakiris:   Not necessarily, Seth. I’ll give you an example. This is like one of the pieces of evidence that I throw on the table and ask that we can bring it up next time so you can dig into it and find out what your take is on it.

I point you to Jeffrey Schwartz at UCLA School of Medicine. What Schwartz has done and gone even further and said, “Look, I’m a psychiatrist. What I’ve done is shown that a non-physical thought, an idea which is non-physical and doesn’t weigh anything; we can’t say it’s over there in the corner..” We could say there’s these little neurons in your brain that hold that idea but we understand that’s not really that idea because I can write that idea down on a piece of paper and hand it to someone else and they can get that idea.

At some point there’s some immaterial, non-physical transfer that goes on there. So as a starting point we can say ideas are non-physical. What Schwartz has shown is that thought or an idea can actually change the physical structure of your brain, how your brain works. So this presents a real challenge for folks who are sticking to this mind = brain kind of formula. Do you understand where I’m going there?

Seth Andrews:   I don’t know that you can say with as little—I mean, we know a lot about the brain but there’s so much we have to learn I don’t think you can say that an idea is not physical. It is contained within the physical brain and there are properties that are, even if we don’t know them yet, are—I believe anyway. I think eventually science will prove that the neural activity has a physical explanation. Wildly complicated explanation, but an explanation.

So the idea that because it is in our mind in abstract it’s not a femur bone, it’s not a heart or a liver or a spleen; it’s something else. But it is generated by the brain and how our brain functions does affect all of the people who—it’s just like people who hold a specific disposition tend to often get well from sickness faster than those who are more negative. Those who have more positive thoughts. I honestly do believe the brain, what you think, how you think, how you see the world, can affect you physically but I don’t necessarily hold to the fact that an idea cannot be physically explained.

Again, you’re talking to a guy who’s not a neuroscientist. And in my mind, Alex, just from listening and I know you probably deal with this weekly so don’t let me get into your wheelhouse, but you seem eager to ascribe an external explanation for—do you believe that there is “The Force?” Is there an entity, a being?

Where are you going with the inferences that there is an external force or unexplainable force that guides consciousness and are those consciousnesses connected? Are you getting all Deepak Chopra on me? I’m just curious what your perspective as the host is. I feel an agenda going on and I just want to know. Are you trying to convince me?

Alex Tsakiris:   I think I’ve kind of laid out what I’m trying to do in terms of I want to lay out where I’m going to come at you from or I’m going to challenge you on or ask you…

Seth Andrews:   I don’t mind being challenged. That’s cool. But are you a believer in like you said a divine consciousness? Is it a spirit? Is it energy?

Alex Tsakiris:   Here’s where I wanted to go on that. That’s the dialogue that I think we so often get into in our culture, on the Internet, or wherever that really sidetracks us from trying to pin down the truth that all that stuff flows from. If the evidence suggests that consciousness is solely a product of the brain then I would, from that, draw a whole bunch of conclusions. But in looking at the data I see the data as just the opposite.

I mean, Jeffrey Schwartz isn’t the only one here out on a limb. The idea of materialism being dead is floating around at least with a dozen books from some very prominent authors. We’ll leave that but I’ll just point you to this whole topic of neural plasticity and Jeffrey Schwartz and a million other people who have looked at this thing.

The second place I’d look is—I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dr. Richard Wiseman from the UK but he’s very popular on the skeptical circuit, on the Atheist circuit, in terms of being a researcher in psychology. Very well-known in the UK. Here’s the quote from him that I think, to me, is really the deal-breaker. This is it:

“I agree that by the standards of any other area of science, psi—that is ESP, remote viewing, all those things—is proven. That begs the question, do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal?”

So what this quote, to me, and he’s said it more than once. He said it the first time and then someone was so in disbelief that he had said it that The Daily Mail in the UK interviewed him again. They published his quote again and he broadened it and said, “Yeah, I wasn’t just talking about remote viewing, this idea that we can see things with our psychic minds at afar.”

He said he was talking about all the ESP and psi-related research. So here’s a guy who’s very skeptical, if you will, coming out and saying that this stuff is proved. Of course, the idea of ESP and remote viewing completely violates the mind = brain formula. So are you at all familiar with this kind of stuff?

Seth Andrews:   I’ve never heard of him but that’s all right. I hadn’t heard of a great many people just a few years ago. I’m certainly not familiar with anyone in the Atheist or skeptical community who is in favor of promoting, endorsing that kind of speech. It doesn’t sound like something that mainstream Atheists, scientists, or researchers are embracing. It sounds like one guy.

Alex Tsakiris:   Let’s just hold off on that one. I don’t want you to go too far on that because he’s got that skeptic on…

Seth Andrews:   Well, the skeptic in me, obviously I’ve got this little alarm that goes beep, beep, beep, beep! Wait a minute. We’re talking about what?

Alex Tsakiris:   You’re going to find all that out. That’s exactly what I’m saying, Seth. You just go find all that out. I don’t want you to commit to saying anything. But he’s at Skepticon, he’s at the JRF, he’s at all those. Very, very prominent in the skeptical community. I think you will recognize him once you see his name down there. It’s kind of interesting also to hear somebody fresh. Their first take on that says, “Gee, what he’s really saying is that this stuff is proven.”

And that is what he’s saying. What he’s saying further, of course, is the part that people like to jump on and say, “Yeah, but he’s saying we’ve got to be really, really, really sure before we change everything for that.” That, to me, that sounds like Apologetics saying, “Hey, do we need a higher standard of evidence than we normally use in science because this does go against our belief systems?”

So that would be, I guess, a Part 2 dialogue. Isn’t that really Apologetics when you start saying, “We need a different standard of evidence because this doesn’t quite go with the way that I want to see things.” You can pull that apart how you want and then we’ll see what you have to say.

Seth Andrews:   Well, again, I’m not familiar with him. If someone is saying you need a different measuring stick so that all of these puzzle pieces will now fit together the way I want them to, again, that’s not science. I have a difficult time honestly thinking that somebody invited to Skepticon or TAM or what-have-you would be someone who would subscribe to that kind of thinking.

Alex Tsakiris:   That will be an interesting one to see where you wind up with that. I’ll send you everything you need on that and we’ll see where you wind up there.

The third area that I think I’d like to talk about that I think provides the most direct in-your-face evidence, if you will, that maybe mind is more than brain is the whole near-death experience science. We’ve spent a lot of time with it on this show. I’ve interviewed some of the leading researchers in the field and as well have interviewed many people who are more skeptical of some of the science or the interpretation of the science.

Now I don’t know how familiar you are with the whole near-death experience thing but what seems to be pretty well established is that it happens. People wind up in the hospital; they die; then they come back, are resuscitated, and recall these amazing encounters that they had. They are hyperconscious, hyper-lucid, during a time that their brain is severely compromised, if not completely gone. That’s medically inexplicable. Are you at all familiar with the whole near-death experience thing?

Seth Andrews:   I am. And honestly, you sound like you’re trying to convince me, and good luck. We’re talking about perception and perception and reality do not necessarily intersect. I mean, I was doing a podcast last year and I had a nurse, a guy who had his own near-death experience. He was actually dead on the table for I don’t know how long and he talked about the white light and all of that. It was like it was hypoxia. You can replicate it.

And then when people come back they say, “I saw this. I felt that. I experienced whatever. You can’t tell me it didn’t happen.” Well, yeah, I can tell you that you saw angels and a dead relative or heard a friendly voice or floated above the room or whatnot. Sure. But what you’re bringing to me now is a subjective first-person account that is unverifiable, highly subjective to the chemical actions and reactions of a brain that is dying and you’re passing it off as fact. Well, that’s not science.

You know, Stanly Koren and Michael Persinger have replicated many of those God experiences using magnets in a lab. For this entire conversation, while I’ve certainly enjoyed myself, we’re starting in the abstract and then I’m hearing all these assertions that so many scientists have come and proven it, and so many scientists agree, and so many scientists have written books.

Well, in my circle–and I’m in a heavy secular circle where the majority of scientists and neurologists and even people like Michael Shermer is a great example of somebody who has written books like The Believing Brain that talks about the subjective ways that people perceive and receive and why they believe these odd things. There are scientific explanations. It doesn’t mean that any of these “I saw, I felt, I heard, I experienced a tingling on the back of my neck” stuff. It’s not science and it doesn’t necessarily need to be taken seriously on its face value.

We need to look and understand that you’re looking at somebody who is having a chemical reaction and coming back and talking about perception. So I don’t buy it. I think you’re talking about something that’s explainable, that has a physical explanation, that is certainly not proof of—I don’t know if you’re going for God or just a spirit plane of some kind. Are you a believer in a deity? Do you have a god?

Alex Tsakiris:   Again, I can go there and I’m happy to have that conversation with you…

Seth Andrews:  Just do you believe in a god?

Alex Tsakiris:   Well, let me just answer the first part the way I want to answer it and then I’ll answer your question directly, okay?

Seth Andrews:   Yeah. I’m not really sure why someone would dodge that particular question. It’s not an accusation. It’s more of a…

Alex Tsakiris:   I get you, I get you. But here’s my point. I think this is really the point of this dialogue is that this is how things get sidetracked. We want to jump to the end and we want to start identifying you and saying, “Oh, you’re a Creationist.” I’m just saying—I’m not accusing you.

Seth Andrews:   I’m not interested in any of that. What I want to know is, when I hear such a targeted line of inquiry that is pushing me to really step into more of the spiritual where you’re saying, “Look, so many scientists, so much of the evidence,” which has not been my experience, then obviously I as the interviewee want to know more about who dialed me up and who wants to know more about me. Who am I speaking with? What drives you? And so I’m not asking you to blow your wad. I’m asking you do you come at me from a Deistic or Theistic point of view? And are you trying then to convert me?

Alex Tsakiris:   No. Not at all. Again, I’m going to go back to the beginning, Seth, because where I’m really coming at you from is exactly what I said, which is this silly sideshow conversation that always dominates center stage. It’s science versus religion. Christianity versus non-Christianity. And to me, the questions are much deeper than that and really boil down to one question. Is your mind purely a function of your brain?

Because if it’s not then we start having to introduce all these other topics that do kind of make us uneasy because they start sounding very spiritual. I think what we have to do is steel ourselves against that and say, “Wait a minute, guys. I want to push everything else off the table and I really want to focus on this one question. I want to think deeply about it. I want to challenge everything. I don’t want to take anyone’s word for it. All these things right out of your playbook and I really want to be very skeptical about it.”

So the third way that I come at this, and yeah, I guess I’m trying to convince you inasmuch as whenever we dialogue like this we’re trying to put our best foot forward and advance our best cause.

Michael Shermer is a nice enough guy; he’s been on the show a long time ago. But he’s a historian. He’s not a scientist. He’s certainly never studied near-death experience and as a matter of fact, his history on that in terms of writing is quite embarrassing in that he wrote for Scientific American a critique of some of the most important research in this area, published by a cardiologist named Pim Van Lommel that did a 20-year, very respected study in the Netherlands. Published it in The Lancet, one of the most highly-regarded journals.

And Shermer comes out and writes this article and says, “Hey, look at this. This shows that these near-death experiences are nothing.” Shermer completely got it wrong, so much to the point that Pim Van Lommel took it upon himself to write a response and say, “Hey, you not only didn’t capture my research correctly in your writing but you exactly got the wrong conclusion than we came to.” And there’s never any correction from Shermer. So I’ll provide you that.

Seth Andrews:   It’s not fair to say Shermer’s a historian. His degrees are in biology and psychology and he is an expert in his field.

Alex Tsakiris:   His Ph.D. I thought was in history. I’m willing to be wrong on that.

Seth Andrews:   Yeah, he does have a Ph.D. I want to say it’s in—I know he started in seminary. He actually started as a believer but he has a bachelors in psychology and biology from Pepperdine. And he is a skeptic and his career, his job, his life’s work, is exploring and often exposing psychic phenomena in everything from homeopathy to people who have these wild claims of miracles, that believe the statue of the Virgin Mary.

To marginalize his work—and I’m not saying he’s perfect—I’m saying to marginalize his work—I mean, yeah, he’s a historian of science. That’s what he is. It’s not necessarily a new thing for people to say, “You can’t understand abstract consciousness.” That’s not a new argument.

But to say that the reputable science community is advocating that there must be a conduit of spirit out there that is responsible, I don’t think that’s accurate. I don’t think it’s reflected by mainstream, especially secular scientists, who are the majority. I think if you spend that much time playing “What if,” you’ll drive yourself nuts.

I think you start the argument from elsewhere. I think you start to look at brain chemistry. You start to look at psychology. You start to look at intelligence. You start to look at culture and perception and all these other wildly complicated things. You start there and see what you come up with.

Alex Tsakiris:   That is exactly why I wanted to do this interview in two parts, because I have to tell you, in the dialogues I’ve had, we always get to this point, which is we have to dig through all the opinions that we might have, beliefs we might have, and try and do as good a job as we can of getting down to the science. Getting down to the scientific evidence and understanding it the best we can. So…

Seth Andrews:   You’re talking to the wrong guy, man. You need psychologists. You need neurologists. You need people who are experts in the brain.

Alex Tsakiris:   But at the end of the day, Seth, I’ve talked to all those people.

Seth Andrews:   I mean, I’m an ex-radio disc jockey and video producer and host. I’ve done a lot of digging, a lot of digging…

Alex Tsakiris:   At the end of the day we’ve got to bring all of that stuff back up and see if it can answer these questions. See if it can engage us in this dialogue in a deeper way. So that’s my point. I talk about Richard Wiseman. You’re not familiar with Richard Wiseman. Great. Go get familiar with Richard Wiseman. See what he has to say about ESP. I’m telling you about the near-death experience and I’m telling you that overwhelmingly hypoxia has been dismissed as a possible explanation and that no one goes there. I’ve interviewed Sue Blackmore…

Seth Andrews:   So you’re a believer, then, in extra-sensory perception. You believe in ESP personally?

Alex Tsakiris:   Personally?

Seth Andrews:   I’m not sure why a yes/no question is so complicated for you. I’m just curious.

Alex Tsakiris:   Because personally is kind of—I don’t have any personal experience with ESP. I think the evidence is overwhelmingly suggestive that that does happen, that there is some form of extended human consciousness that does occur in this way. That’s what the evidence shows. I don’t know what that means.

So I’m saying let’s engage in a real dialogue, a Level Two dialogue that gets past this, “Well, this is what I believe and I’ve already researched it,” and me saying, “Well, this is what I believe and I’ve already researched it.” Let’s swap stories about what we’ve researched and why we think we know what we know and then let’s get back together and see to what extent your worldview changes or my worldview changes.

Seth Andrews:   I’m still stuck on ESP. I’m still stuck on it.

Alex Tsakiris:   Great, man. Go check it out.

Seth Andrews:   I’m still stuck on it. I honestly think—I mean, I lump ESP in with astral projection, with visions, with crystals, with—I myself think that this is a profound waste of time and energy. But to me, superstition and religion, they go hand-in-hand. Superstition and science do not. I don’t place them side-by-side. They are not bedfellows. They are not partners. They are not friends. Religion is incompatible with science. So I cast my lot with science.

Alex Tsakiris:   Science is a method. It is not a position, as my friend likes to say. And no truer statement has ever been made. So we can’t really wrap ourselves in the cloak of science. It’s just a set of tools in a toolbox.

Seth Andrews:   Why not? Why not? That’s exactly what I want to do. Look, I want to live in the closet…

Alex Tsakiris:   It’s a set of tools, Seth. It’s a set of tools. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a way of inquiry. We can’t say that it leads us to some conclusion.

Seth Andrews:   Yes, you do.

Alex Tsakiris:   We can just say it’s a method of discovery.

Seth Andrews:   Absolutely science will lead you to—see, I think you and I are simply approaching the term “science” from different perspectives. You’ll need to forgive me. I’ve only got a moment but I’d like to continue. I informed you before the interview I’ve got a tennis match, so I’m not ducking the conversation. I want to make sure that people don’t think, “Oh my God, he’s leaving.”

I myself think that’s exactly the way you do it. If I use the cause and effect science evidence-based method, yeah, that does lead me to understanding. That does help me weed out the detritus and embrace what has a sound foundation. I think it is a great way to live one’s life, you know? To live with an evidence-based perspective. I think that—I do embrace that in every area of my life that I can.

Alex Tsakiris:   Why don’t we leave it there with the promise that I’m going to give you some evidence and hopefully you’ll give me some evidence in response to that. I really look forward to reconvening because that’s when I think the dialogue gets interesting, gets beyond what we believe right now and gets to where our beliefs might move in the future, which I think is what the whole process is all about.

Seth Andrews:   Well, yeah. How about what we know, what we can prove? That’s what I’m more interested in.

Alex Tsakiris:   Well, that’s semantics, right? I’m saying follow the evidence and then you develop beliefs from that evidence. The evidence is never going to be 100%. I’d better let you go because I’m a tennis player too and you’re going to need some warm-up after that nap.

Seth Andrews:   Well, I appreciate the conversation and the opportunity to be involved. You and I stand probably on opposite sides of this particular topic but it has been an interesting discussion. I appreciate the chance to be involved in it.

Alex Tsakiris:   Thanks again to Seth Andrews for joining me today on Skeptiko.

Well, as you might imagine, I have quite a bit to say about that first interview. Now, I had initially thought that I’d wait to get both interviews and publish them both together but after emailing Seth, we decided that I should go ahead and publish this first one, get some listener response, and then we can follow-up with #2—hopefully. I say hopefully because as you’ve seen on Skeptiko, a lot of times hard-core skeptics, hard-core Atheists usually run like heck when they’re really challenged in a debate. But hopefully we’ll get Seth back on and have a good, in-depth debate on these points.

I first want to go over, if I can, and really tee up what my point are so that Seth has a real chance to respond when he comes back on. So here are the four points that map out my territory, my position in this debate.

Point 1: The core scientific question behind Atheism is does mind equal brain? This is a simple proposition but as you heard in this first discussion, it’s really hard for Atheists and a lot of folks to wrap their heads around this. Seth wanted to get sidetracked on whether I believe in God or I’m hearing voices. He didn’t say it but I’m sure he would have eventually gotten around to asking me whether I believe in evolution or Noah’s Ark or some other stuff like that.

But all this stuff is a sideshow. It’s a distraction. What Seth doesn’t realize is that there’s this implied assumption in the Atheist position. The implied assumption is what we call materialism. I don’t usually go to Wikipedia for information for various reasons but here is the Wikipedia definition for materialism:

“The theory of materialism holds that the only matter or energy exists; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions.”

What I’m saying is that everything that Atheists care about hinge on this assumption being true. Here’s why. Consider this for a second. What if consciousness exists? What if that little voice inside your head is something more than just your brain? Now take that one small step further and ask, what if it survives after you die?

You can say that’s a huge leap and we don’t need to go there, but we do need to ask that question if it’s more than just your brain. But we don’t have to ask it if that little voice inside your head, if consciousness, is all 100% your brain. Then we don’t because we know when you die then your brain dies and consciousness dies. So that’s a real question and it’s a question that whether Seth realizes it or other Atheists realize it, is really occupying the minds of a lot of scientists.

So during the interview I hammered Seth pretty hard about mind = brain, mind = brain, and he never seemed to quite understand what was really at play here. I think after he thinks about it for a while and hopefully after he listens to this interview, he’ll see that this is really the core scientific issue for Atheists.

So let’s move on to topic 2. Actually, Points 2, 3, and 4 are all my supporting evidence for the idea that mind = brain really doesn’t hold up anymore and therefore Atheism needs to be reconsidered in light of this new scientific evidence in much the same way that Christianity needs to be reconsidered in light of new Biblical scholarship or archeological evidence. There’s really quite a parallel there.

Point 2: Neuroplasticity violates mind = brain. We spent a lot of time in the first interview talking about Schwartz from UCLA but I want to try and tackle it again in a way that Seth might be able to understand. So what Schwartz did was he took a group of pateints that had obsessive-compulsive disorder and he sought to treat these patients by teaching them how to meditate in a very specific way. What he found was that this not only relieved their obsessive-compulsive disorder, their OCD, but that the physical structure of their brains changed as a result of their meditation.

He did this by doing brain imaging before and after. He’s a very careful scientist and physician and he knows what he’s doing. Moreover, the relationship between meditation and changes in the physical brain is something that has been confirmed by other research, other labs, and you can search around for that and pretty quickly find that.

So what does all this mean? What’s the big deal? Well, here it is. A thought or abstract ideas are immaterial things. They’re non-physical things. Again, Seth could never quite wrap his head around this but if you think about it for a while you’ll see it’s the only conclusion that you can come to. Let me try again with a simple thought experiment that I think will drive this home.

Let’s say you have an idea. A really good idea and it’s there in your head. You might even think that it’s physically there in your head. That is, that it’s stored in all those little neurons and synapses in your brain, okay? So you have this really great idea and you don’t want to lose it so you write it down. Then you die. Where’s the idea? The neurons are gone, the synapses are gone. Where’s the idea? How much does it weigh? How big is it? You can’t really say it’s in the ink on the paper. Obviously it’s not.

Where is it? Now we know that the idea still exists because you wrote it down, and like so many ideas from the past that have been written down, someone else can pick it up and get it inside their head and it’s not going to be quite the same inside their head but you know what? We could line up 1,000 people and get it inside of all their heads and then we could ask them questions and we could statistically show that it’s pretty much the same idea. We could do all that stuff. That’s science.

At the end of the day, the only conclusion we could come to is that abstract ideas, abstract thoughts, are non-physical. So what? What does all that mean? Let’s get back to Schwartz’s experiment. What does it mean if a non-physical idea that he taught to a group of patients can lead to physical changes in the structure of the brain?

It means that this brain thing, this thing that Atheists assume generates consciousness is being affected by non-physical things called ideas. It means that materialism—remember materialism, all phenomena, including consciousness, are the result of material interactions? Well, it means that’s been violated. It means that mind does not equal brain. Or maybe in this case, we should say brain does not equal mind because if non-physical ideas can shape the structure of our brains, then we have a major chicken or the egg problem. I mean, what came first? The idea? Or the brain?

So that’s Point 2. Seth shouldn’t feel too bad about not getting this point because as you remember, Dr. Jerry Coyne didn’t get it, either, and he’s a professor of biology at the University of Chicago. But as you’ve seen, if you have some very hard-core, cherished beliefs that you don’t want to violate, it’s really hard to do any kind of thinking on this topic. I think that’s the roadblock here because it’s not a hard concept.

Point 3: Prominent skeptics have already admitted that ESP, psi, remote viewing–all of which, by the way, violate mind = brain—well, these guys have already admitted that this stuff is scientifically proven. So look, this one’s easy. Seth says he doesn’t believe in ESP. At the same time he says he’s never heard of Richard Wiseman. I’m sure he’s never heard of Dean Radin. Therefore, he’s saying that he’s formed these beliefs without ever looking at the data. Period, end of story.

Because Dean Radin has done more research into ESP than almost anyone and he’s certainly at this time the go-to guy on this subject. Even though I don’t think much of Richard Wiseman, he’s more-or-less the go-to guy in terms of being an ESP, psi, whatever term you want to use, skeptic. So Seth is a smart guy and I know he’s studied a lot of other stuff, but when it comes to ESP we can say with confidence that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That he’s never looked at the data. Never read any of the research.

But here’s the interesting part. If you remember from our interview, Seth’s major push-back was that he can’t believe that any real scientists, let alone a skeptic, would say that since this stuff has been proven that maybe we need a new standard of proof. Seth immediately recognized how ridiculous this is, at least initially. Because let’s see what happens after he’s infected with the skeptical virus on this. Let’s see what happens after he talks to the politburo and gets the official party line on this. That’s going to be really, really interesting to see and hear.

Point 4: Okay, here it is, the evidence from NDE research overwhelmingly suggests that consciousness, in some way we don’t fully understand, survives bodily death. So this doesn’t just violate mind = brain. It shatters it. It shatters it in a way that probably sends chills down the spines of Fundamentalist Atheists like Seth Andrews because now it’s clear. If consciousness survives death, then we have to seriously consider all of the other stuff that generally falls into this category called the spiritual.

Let’s face it. Survival of consciousness is one of the core beliefs of just about every religion in the world. So if Atheists have to step back and say, “Well, scientifically on that point it does look like religion is right and we’re wrong,” well, as you can imagine, the whole thing starts to unravel. Now Seth’s take on the NDE research is that it’s hypoxia. Well, maybe. Well, no, not really. Maybe.

You see, it’s not hypoxia. I know because Pim Van Lommel, a former guest, ran experiments with real near-death experiencers in a real hospital for 20 years and he concluded it’s not hypoxia.

I know because Jan Holden, former guest, and Bruce Greyson reviewed dozens of published peer-reviewed studies, many of which they did themselves and they concluded it’s not hypoxia.

I know because Jeff Long, former guest, who’s a medical doctor working in a hospital looked at thousands of cases of near-death experience and he concluded it’s not hypoxia.

So please, Seth, come back on Skeptiko and tell me why you think NDEs are explainable by hypoxia. Oh, and please don’t cite Michael Shermer because he’s never done any near-death experience research and he’s just going to cite people like Susan Blackmore, former guest, who’s already admitted that she doesn’t have a clue what current research into near-death experience says and she’s not been current in the field for the last 20 years.

And don’t cite papers like Mobbs and Watt because we’ve talked to Caroline Watt and she can’t even explain the title of her paper let alone why it’s littered with citation errors and has some very erroneous conclusions.

If you really want to cite Michael Persinger or somebody you brought up in the interview and another former guest of this show, and all the God Helmet stuff that he’s done, be careful. Because while Persinger might be somewhat of an NDE skeptic, he also maintains that he’s proven ESP in his lab so you’re going to have a hard time fitting him into your worldview.

So folks, those are my four points. Those are my territory, if you will. Seth, I’m really hoping you come back on. I’ll give you the straight answer that you wanted, your yes/no answer on do I believe in God. Actually, I’ll give it to you right now. I’ll borrow it from Raymond Moody, another former guest and say, “I don’t believe in God but I have a relationship with God.”

Now finally, I’ve said many times that skeptics don’t like to debate. As you’ve seen on this show over and over and over again, they run from these debates. And when they get half-way into them they run even faster because the skeptical positions we’re talking about here are sheer nonsense. And no one wants to defend such silliness.

As for Seth, even though he agreed to a two-part interview, going into this my guess is that he’ll back out of Round 2 with some high-minded statement about my agenda. Yeah, I’ve got an agenda. Follow the data wherever it leads.

Update:

Seth has backed out of the second interview. Now, I shouldn’t be surprised. I even said when I recorded my closing to the first interview that hey, this guy is going to back out and he’s going to say some high-minded stuff about my agenda. But I didn’t think he really would. I mean, he’s “The Thinking Atheist.” He’s the only chance we have for someone who says they’re really going to dig in and think about this stuff. And yet he’s backed out. I have to read you some of these emails. It is so much of what our dialogue on Skeptiko is about. So here’s how it transpired:

Immediately after the interview, I sent Seth an email. I laid out just like I did for you a minute ago the four points, links to Jeffrey Schwartz, links to Dean Radin, Richard Wiseman, all that stuff. And at the end of that email I gave Seth two options. I said, “Look, we can schedule another dialogue/debate in a couple weeks or I can publish what we just did along with my comments and see what listeners think before we try again.” I asked his opinion on that.

So in his first email response to me he’s already backpedaling a little bit but he’s still in the game. He says, “Whatever. It’s fine. Play the interview and let’s see what happens.” He says, “I think the Atheist community and religious community grow frustrated because your assertions attempt to create a hybrid.” I don’t know where he’s going with that. But he says, “Go ahead and publish the first interview and we’ll go from there.”

So then maybe an hour later, I get the next email from Seth. It’s not practical to read the whole thing to you here but I’ll give you some of the highlights. He says, “Alex, my tennis match just got canceled a few minutes ago due to rain. Go figure. I do appreciate the opportunity to be a guest on your show. If I can be honest, and that’s been the case all evening, I guess, I feel like I’ve been participating in a religion show.”

He goes on to say, “Personally, I can’t participate on the same tier as you because I see your measuring stick as suspect. Near-death experiences, reports of ESPs, and copious amounts of chatter on external consciousness? I’ve come from a belief in such things and rejected them. Send me the name of the ESP scientist guy and I’m going to have to think about whether or not I’m up for another hour of this.”

So now next our emails are kind of crossing each other. I’m sending him and he’s sending me at the same time. In the process of me sending this next email, Seth sends me an email and says, “Alex, just saw the part about Part 2,” that is, my email exchange with him initially that said we’re going to do this in two parts and I explain the whole thing to him. “My apologies. I’ll do the second interview as I agreed.” Remember that.

So in the meantime, while he was sending me that short little email, I sent him this email. “Seth, I think there’s plenty of fire to make for a good follow-up debate. (Smiley-face). I think many Atheists, despite a lot of bluster, are lazy thinkers. If you want to know about NDE research, go to the guys who publish and peer-review journals, not popular professional skeptics like Michael Shermer who gets slapped around by researchers like Pim Van Lommel. If you want to understand ESP look at Dean Radin, published more than anyone. Not jesters like James Randi. You think I’m driving an agenda? I think you are. That makes for a good debate. (Smiley-face) But that’s also why we have to get beyond what you think and what I think and hash out the data.”

So here’s the next email I get from Seth and here’s where things really go off the rails. You’ve heard this before if you listen to Skeptiko. Here’s the email I received from Seth the following morning: “Well, I did some digging and I apparently confused you with Skeptico and it would appear that I’m not the only one who got caught in that oversight. (Talk about being infected with the Atheist skeptical virus. He’s obviously read some stuff on the Internet now, right?) I was also given the impression that we were going to discuss my former faith and the often soft approach I take towards believers among the hard-liners. Instead, we spent an hour walking down a path of psycho-babble (Interesting) and seeing you lead me towards validating your own agenda. It was disingenuous and poor form. I’m not interested in reappearing. Seth.”

Okay, so he slept on things and he’s read some blog posts and he’s read some comments. Good deal. My response: “Seth, come on, you look silly here. You confused me with Skeptico? Really? How? I sent you the link to my site. I sent you a list of my former guests. Your statement is not credible. Moreover, my original email made clear my intentions.” And then I quote him the original email that I sent and I highlighted the part, “We’ve hosted many debates with prominent Atheists, Christians, and consciousness researchers.”

I would have to add that this wasn’t just one email. He sent me back and then I sent him the part about the two-part interview and he was in agreement with all that. So it’s completely not credible.

Back to my email to him. “Again, you claim that I misled you is not credible. Look, Seth, we don’t have to be buddies to debate this stuff but running from an honest debate gets us nowhere. You wind up looking exactly like the dogmatic Christians you rail against for not being willing to think. Hope you’ll reconsider. You twice agreed to come back on, both before and after the initial interview. You’re going to look pretty silly if you back down now.”

To which Seth responded rather tersely, “No, it’s my fault for not doing due diligence. I think you’ve got plenty of material. I’m out.”

To which I replied, “You’re just ducking a debate, parenthetically because you’re afraid to lose. I’ve seen it over and over again. Atheism is as much about ‘don’t challenge my cherished beliefs as Christianity.’ You’re not going to look good on this one.”

To which Seth replied, “I think this is the tone that most alarms me. The baiting. The insinuation of cowardice. The schoolyard taunts in an attempt to elicit the desired reaction. This is not how mature people conduct themselves. It’s certainly not a mindset or tactic I’m obligated to entertain. That is all. Seth.”

My response: “Again, not credible. We talked for an hour. We found many points of agreement. Some points of disagreement. It was a civil, pleasant conversation. The follow-up would be the same. No shouting down of your ideas. No cutting off of your opportunity to make your case. Regarding insinuations of cowardice, well Seth, you’re ducking out of a debate because you don’t have a good response to my points. You can call that whatever you will. We don’t agree on some stuff. It’s not always going to be pretty but I don’t see how you can so blatantly trample all over your stated mission statement of ‘Challenge the opposition and start thinking.’ Your excuses for not coming back on are going to look pretty transparent. You’ve already contradicted yourself several times in this email exchange. I’m not trying to be nasty but then again, these are hard conversations to have and a certain amount of brutal honesty is necessary.”

And that’s the last I’ve heard from Seth Andrews.

So at this point I have to ask for some help. If you’re an Atheist or a skeptic, materialist, reductionist, whatever you call yourself, and you know someone who can pick up the gauntlet, who can make the case, who can respond to the points that I’ve made, get them on Skeptiko. Or ask them to invite me on their show. Again, anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Anyone as long as they’re a serious public figure. I mean, Seth Andrews, the Thinking Atheist, has 96,000 followers on YouTube. That makes him someone worth talking to. So anyone like that I’m willing to talk to. Why aren’t they willing to debate me? What are they afraid of?

Or if you don’t want to do that, here’s another suggestion, okay? Stop being a fricking Atheist for a minute and look at the data, look at the evidence. Stop being led around by a group of people who promise to cure you of your Christian brainwashing only to infect you with the Atheism virus. Be a free thinker. Do as Seth Andrews says as opposed to what he really does and think!

Okay, enough of that. Thanks for joining me. It’s been an interesting little ride here with The Thinking Atheist. If you would like to join in on the dialogue on this show, and I really hope you will, what your take is, as long as you’re civil and want to have a real dialogue, we’d love to have that dialogue with you. The place to do that is the Skeptiko website. It’s at skeptiko.com. Don’t get confused like Seth and put a “c” in there. It’s a “k.”

There you’ll find our forum where you can engage in this dialogue. I also have the comment section on the website which has this new format which I really think is quite nice, that will engage people more and allow us to have more of a dialogue.

And then finally, you can email or Facebook me from the website. You’ll also find there links to all our previous shows, over 180 of them. You can download them all for free. Many more shows coming up. Stay with me for all of that. And until next time, take care and bye for now.